Why Jack Balkin is Disgusting
Northwestern University School of Law
November 12, 2009
Constitutional Commentary, Vol. 27, p. 177, 2010
Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 09-23
Northwestern Law & Econ Research Paper No. 09-42
Yale Law Professor Jack Balkin didn’t win friends when he announced that (1) he is now a constitutional originalist and (2) the original meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment protects the right to abortion. His claim to membership in the originalist club brought forth a small army of eager bouncers, who were sure that originalism couldn’t possibly defend the paradigmatic departure from the Constitution’s original meaning.
Balkin has indeed posed a radical challenge to the vision of law that drives the originalists – more radical than he is willing to admit. His theory is in such deep tension with a commonly held vision of the rule of law that his argument is, to put the point precisely, disgusting. But that doesn’t mean that he is wrong.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 12
Keywords: Balkin, Jack, Disgusting, constitutional, originalist, Fourteenth Amendment
JEL Classification: K10, K19Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: November 22, 2009 ; Last revised: May 10, 2011
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